Senator Win Gatchalian will seek an inquiry into the proliferation of loan sharks and other online lending schemes of some companies not under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The move is aimed at studying remedial legislation to address possible gaps in the existing policies being enforced by government regulating bodies and other concerned agencies following the emergence of online cash loan services of unlicensed lenders, according to Gatchalian, adding that the BSP should advice the public not to transact with these types of predatory lending.
“Dahil sa marahas na pamamaraan nila ng paniningil, may mga biktimang nabalitang nag-suicide at marami na rin umano ang nakararanas ng death threats,” Gatchalian, Vice Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, said.
“Magsilbing aral din sana ito sa mga naghahanap ng mapag-uutangan nang mabilis. Dapat marunong silang kumilatis kung kaduda-duda ang pamamaraan ng pagpapautang ng isang kumpanya,” he added.
Gatchalian said his office continues to receive complaints from victims of online lending companies and lending apps, the majority of them claiming to have suffered various forms of grave threats, intimidation, and public-shaming from debt collectors.
The SEC in December last year revoked the certificate of authority of online firm Super Cash Lending Corp. after it was found to have engaged in unfair debt collection practices while the National Privacy Commission (NPC) last February recommended the prosecution of Fynamics Lending Inc., the operator of the PondoPeso online lending app for harassing and public-shaming delinquent borrowers and for violating the data privacy law.
Gatchalian already sought the enactment of the proposed Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. His Senate Bill No. 1366 prohibits debt collectors from harassing or threatening the debtor and his or her family with death or physical injuries, inflict harm on the debtor’s reputation or give misleading claims that non-payment of debt will result to arrest, imprisonment, garnishment or sale of any property. Creditors and debt collectors are also barred from accessing personal information of the debtor without the consent of the concerned person.